Monday, September 28, 2009

The Quest

Ruthie Started gymnastics right around the same time she started 1st grade. I really had no idea what I was signing up for. We had tried the soccer thing, T-ball and dance. Done the recitals. We played the violin for a brief time and went to one of those concerts. But when we stepped into the gym it seemed to all fall into place for her. She had found her passion at the young age of six. In the three years that followed, I never once heard her ask, "do I have to go?" She went quickly from rec to hotshots and from there to level I in a matter of just months. She climbed through the ranks of Level II and Level III. There were tears as the conditioning got harder. There were set backs with a broken wrist and stitches that planted fear in her mind. She got through all of that and still never asked, "Do I have to go?" All you parents out there know what I mean...your child is so excited to begin that new thing. You get out that birth certificate, stand in line, get signed up. You rush to buy the right shoes and the proper outfit. Then, inevitably, the shine wears off and you hear, "Do I have to go?"

When your child starts gymnastics, there is really not much to go watch. They go in and they do what looks to you like playing for 45 minutes to an hour. There's no game on Saturday morning. There is no recital at the end of the year. But, one day, you get that invitation to be on team and your daughter's face is so bright it could light a football stadium at midnight and you just know that the hours you have spent fighting the other children to behave in the lobby so she could do her thing have all been worth it. And so, after 3 years of hard work, we have reached her first year of competition and I have to tell you...I'm nervous!

Because she had just gotten her cast off and was not yet ready to compete, Ruthie had to be a cheerleader at her first meet, which for a gymnast is sacrilegious. But, she went in looking at the bright side which was that she would get to observe how it all happened without all the nerves. Her team did well, she had fun. After awards, her coaches awarded the team award which was a banner to the gymnast who scored the highest ALL AROUND. As we walked to the car, I looked down at her and I said, "what do you think? Pretty cool, Huh?" And oh, child of mine said, "Ya, I'm gonna get me one of those banners." And so we begin the quest...

Black Jack AT The Beach, Daytona, FL

Gymnastics is a confusing sport. There are deductions I could never begin to understand. If they stay on the beam, it looks good to me...however, apparently mommy's opinions do not matter. So, her first time out the gate, she scored:

Vault 8.9 (10th)
Bars 9.05 (2T)
Beam 8.25 (9th)
Floor 8.7 (4th)
All Around 34.9 (7th out of 12)

Now, they break them into levels and then age groups so in her age group, there were 12 girls. She got some medals. I smiled and was very excited for her. I say, "wow! Great job...that was so much fun!" She says, "People did better than me, next time, I'm going to be better." By "people" she means her team mates and I know that this is really what is bothering her. Ruthie has a drive that won't quit. She can't help herself and understand it but, I want her to be proud of where she came from and remember that it is her first meet and everyone else's second. I want her to remember that she overcame a broken ankle and put in extra time to get to this meet. She's having none of it and so, we will see what the next meet holds for her...Stay tuned.

The boys have also begun their fall activities. They are off and running with flag football. More on that, later...

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